Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Week:

Agents who represent themselves.

Every once in a while you see this from legitimate agents, and it drives me up the wall. An agent sends us a manuscript they've written, on their agency letterhead, with a cover letter with all the normal schmoozing. And we're expected to treat that manuscript as agented?

Certainly in the strictest sense, it is agented. But publishers offer agented manuscripts faster turnaround and more personal responses because agents are supposed to be doing some of the slush-sifting for us. That doesn't actually apply when it comes to something they wrote.

So I'm wracking my brain for a professional, polite way of saying, "You can't be trusted to be impartial or discerning about your own writing. Your manuscript has gone into slush with all the other unsoliciteds."

But so far, no luck.


Anonymous said...

There is no polite way to say that. You're going to have to suck it up and play the game, if for no other reason than as a thank you to the agent for allowing you to close your doors to slush.

Eric said...

Could you tell him you just don't handle self-agented material?

Or, that you request it to be submitted by an agent not in the same skin as the author?

Or, just reject it... with a 5-times-photocopied rejection letter.

Anonymous said...

I think in this case you just need to look at it as a professional courtesy. It bites but there is really no better way around it.

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